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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Blinken issues warning to China

The top US diplomat said Washington would “not hesitate” to target Chinese companies or individuals who violate its Russia sanctions

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has again warned China of “implications and consequences” should it contribute lethal aid to Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. The senior US diplomat made the comments in Kazakhstan on Tuesday as part of a tour of Central Asian nations.

Blinken is meeting representatives of several former Soviet republics this week, including from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Read more: Blinken to meet Asia ‘Quad’ after China friction

“We did very clearly warn China about the implications and consequences of going through with providing such support,” he said at a news conference in Astana, following meetings with Kazakh foreign minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

“We will not hesitate, for example, to target Chinese companies or individuals that violate our sanctions, or are otherwise engaged in supporting the Russian war effort,” he warned, adding that he’d discussed the issue “directly” with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi when they met at the Munich Security Conference earlier this month.

CIA Director Bill Burns told CBS News on Friday that the agency was “confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment” to Moscow to aid it militarily in its conflict with Ukraine – an accusation which Beijing denies. Last week, China issued a 12-point plan detailing a potential roadmap to peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Speaking on Tuesday, Blinken warned that any Chinese moves to aid Russia would create a “serious problem” for US-China relations, and harm many of China’s political relationships across the globe.

Read more: Antony Blinken meets Egyptian President

“China can’t have it both ways when it comes to the Russian aggression in Ukraine,” Blinken added. “It can’t be putting forward peace proposals on the one hand, while actually feeding the flames of the fire that Russia has started with the other hand.”

Beijing for its part has accused Washington of hypocrisy and of fueling the conflict in Ukraine by sending weapons worth billions of dollars to Kiev.

“The US has no right to dictate China-Russia relations, and we will never accept coercion and pressure from the US,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told journalists during a briefing on Monday.